Sports Reference Blog

Starter/Sub Data for Every QB Since 1950

Posted by Mike Lynch on February 6, 2019

Last month, we announced that you could now search for spans of starts by QBs, back to 1950 in the Player Game Finder. We want to point out that you can also use this feature as a simple toggle to restrict your search to starters or subs. This can be done for all other positions only back to 1999, but for quarterbacks it works back to 1950 using the "QB Started" filter.

Here's a few examples of searches you can run with this capability:


6 Responses to “Starter/Sub Data for Every QB Since 1950”

  1. Mark Growcott Says:

    Seems like it isn't working when Playoff games are selected

    Otherwise great new feature.

  2. Alex Bonilla Says:

    Thanks, we'll take a look at that.

  3. Mike Lynch Says:

    Thanks, Mark. Should be fixed

  4. Dan Lee Says:

    Very cool feature. Thanks!

    For what it's worth, there's a bit of goofiness in games where teams open with trick plays/wildcat formations. A couple examples from recent Bills history: LeSean McCoy is listed as the starting QB for one game in 2018, presumably because he took a direct snap on the first play. Also, there's a game in 2015 where Matt Cassel took the first snap of the game on a trick run play to McCoy. It was the only snap he ever took as a member of the Bills - he was part of the package that ran that play, so they used him just that once.

    I don't know if you can authoritatively, definitively find all QB starts like that or even if you'd want to, but I figured it was worth a mention as a limitation.

  5. Mike Lynch Says:

    Hi Dan,

    In those cases we have two ways of handling things. Since McCoy is not actually a QB, we designated Derek Anderson the starter. We did something similar when the 2012 Bengals used a Mohamed Sanu trick play on the opening play against the Redskins. We manually adjusted Andy Dalton to be the starting QB. Just sort of a sanity check type of thing

    However, in the Matt Cassel game, we kept Cassel as the starting QB (even though he never threw a pass) since unlike Sanu and McCoy, he actually is a QB.

    Not the only way to handle these things, but it's the method we've determined to be best. And it also falls in line with how the NFL has decided to compute "Starting QB" records

    Thanks for your note!

  6. Dan Lee Says:

    Thanks, Mike.

    That's a completely reasonable way to treat those games. Well done.